Dec 16, 2019

Give me a break!

SPRING BREAK IS JUST A MONTH AWAY, and although I have my plane ticket booked and hotel arrangements set, it seems a little bittersweet. You see, this will be the last school ordained spring break that I am entitled to before I graduate this May and enter the so-called real world, where I will be lucky if I get 14 vacation days each year.

Now that I am being faced with the necessary evil of working to support myself, I fear that I will never accept that I may not get to see the Egyptian pyramids or experience the mystique of Tibet that are on my long list of vacation destinations.

In the past I have left jobs because they would either not give me the time off or not allow me enough time to travel, and I fear that this immature attitude will not translate well as I begin down my career path.

Of course, a more logical person would think that a steady job and the income that comes with it would outweigh the need to see the world, but that is not the case for myself. After affording myself the luxury — though most of it was far from luxurious — of traveling throughout Europe and most of North America, I have found that nothing compares.

The lessons that I have learned along my various journeys and the relationships I have made do not compare to anything else that I have experienced thus far in my 24 years. While I am still relatively young, though 24 seems awfully old to me, I simply do not see how the monotony of a steady job will be able to overcome my desire to experience as much as I can before my time on this planet comes to an end.

Though my parents worry that my vagabond spirit may get in the way of someday having a career and starting a family of my own, I do not entirely buy into their fears.

When I announced two years ago that I was moving to London for a year, most of my friends and family did not believe it would happen until I was boarding the plane to Heathrow. No I did not participate in the semester abroad program; instead I opted for an immersion experience, one that involved a low-paying job at a theatre bar and living in a flat where I shared a room with three girls.

As rough as that sounds, I could not have wished for anything else. The relationships I made and the opportunities it afforded me could not have happened otherwise. I was able to travel to 12 countries, most of which I got to see alongside natives of the countries, who were generous enough to show me their home countries through their eyes.

If I brought one thing back to the states with me, it is the necessity of taking time off to reenergize and rethink priorities. A recent study showed that 439 million vacation days were not taken by Americans, who only get two weeks of paid vacation to begin with. The U.S. is one of the only countries that has no government-mandated time off, much different from France where workers get 31 days of paid vacation in addition to holidays.

Although I may play into the American consumer and workaholic image at times, I truly value relaxing vacations and don’t hesitate to leave all work behind while I am on holiday. I find it sad that many American workers are not allowing themselves the time off they rightfully deserve.

It all comes down to the basic premise that most Americans are living to work and striving to get as much money as they can so that they can then acquire as many things as possible. In my future, I hope that I do not succumb to this belief and the pressure to conform to this mindset, and instead work just enough to live my life the way I see fit.

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